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Mandi, there is hope #33080
12-19-2003 06:38 AM
12-19-2003 06:38 AM
Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 234
Wilmington, Delaware
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youngerag Offline OP
Platinum Member (200+ posts)
youngerag  Offline OP
Platinum Member (200+ posts)
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Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 234
Wilmington, Delaware
Mandi,

I decided to start a new thread to offer you some hope from a former alcoholic, who did not see the light until after the cancer operation.

I was operated on for cancer over three years ago. If you do a search you, will see that I have many previous posts on the subject. Many of these were written while wallowing in a self-pity haze of alcohol. The pain I was in was not visable to anyone, not even myself.

Experiencing oral cancer is like having someone die that is very close to you. The emotions are the same, denial, fear/panic, depression/pity and finally acceptance. The cigarettes and the booze were my substance during my denial, fear and panic stages. Once I made it through the operation, I gave up the cigarettes. Only because I used a patch during my stay in the hospital and they tasted like shit aftewards. But I did not give up the liquid comfort.

I started withdrawal/hallucinations/DT's during my hospital stay. At one point I tried to tear out all of the tubes, even the trachea. My doctor recognizing the situation, ordered me an alcohol drip and heavy doses of Ativan to get me through.

I recovered from my operation quickly and within a two week period I was back to drinking again. You see it made me feel good in the beginning, it made everything the "same as it was before." It also helped numb the pain where they removed the part of my tongue and rebuilt the floor of my mouth. Also, the pain where the neck dissection was done "didn't bother me as much, and I didn't see it anymore." Then somewhere along the line reality set it - THINGS WERE NEVER GOING TO BE THE SAME AGAIN. That is a tough pill to swallow. Welcome depression and self-pity with a vengence.

Self-pity, becasue I had caused the cancer. I was the one that drank and smoked. No one forced it on me. The sorrier I felt for myself the more I drank and the more I hid my feelings from everyone but myself. A year and a half after the operation I went on anti-depressants and XANAX. The beginning of the downward slide to my high bottom, total funcitoning drunk.

On the outside everyone was amazed at how well I was handling everything, yet they didn't see the inside of me. I was slowly dying, both physically and mentally. I got worse, little by little, day by day for nearly three months.

The same doctor, who saw the real me, followed me out to my car after an appointment. He looked at me in the eye and said "Anne, if you ever need help and you think you have a problem, call me." Two weeks later I called and one week after that I was checking myself into a detox center. Not intentionally, but it was two years to the day that I had been operated on, September 12th.

The last three years have been extremely difficult, but ever evolving. And guess what? Things will never be the same and I'm really happy about that! . cool

Of course there is a hell of alot more to this story, but I won't bore you with the details. However, if I can be of any help or offer you or your husband some hope, encouragement or just plain listen, please contact me at my email address below.

Please remember, you have to do what you have to do, only you can make that decision. In the same note, no one can help your husband until he asks for it. Making demands will only push him farther away.

Happy Holidays to all.

Take care.

Anne.
younger.anne@comcast.net


Anne G.Younger
Life has never been better.
Re: Mandi, there is hope #33081
12-19-2003 08:30 PM
12-19-2003 08:30 PM
Joined: Mar 2003
Posts: 189
Maryland
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Mandi Offline
Gold Member (100+ posts)
Mandi  Offline
Gold Member (100+ posts)
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Joined: Mar 2003
Posts: 189
Maryland
Dear Anne,

Without even knowing it, you have mirrored my experience with Dennis almost exactly. When he was hospitalized with the lobectomy, he also experienced DTs. At one point he told the nurses that they had no right to keep him there (this is 18 hrs. post-op) and it took security to subdue him while they tied him down and got his tubes back in. It was a real eye-opener when I took the youngest son in the next morning with his little package of books, toys, etc. for Dad, and he was so sedated, that we couldn't even tell he was breathing at first.

The doctor medically treated him and had a social worker make arrangements for rehab (totally covered by insurance)..........plans that Dennis originally agreed to, but renigged on when I came to see him on his day of discharge. To this day, I wish they could have called me and let me know their intentions. Believe me, I would have stayed away! This lady had all the pre-cert done...everything. In his state of "playing with the bugs on his bed", he had no clue what was important. And to further explain the situation, he was hurting so badly just a day or two later from the surgery, that he used the alcohol as a drug. And hasn't stopped since.

I'm sorry to ramble. Thank you Anne, for sharing your story. I know firsthand how hard it must be. But hope is something that we all need, and bless you, you've given me that.

Love,
Mandi


Husband diagnosed with stage III tonsil and floor of mouth cancer in August 2002. Three rounds of chemo/42 RAD treatments. Upper right lung lobectomy in March 2003. (Benign)

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